Six-year-old boy suffers third-degree burns in bullying attack: ‘Mommy they lit me on fire’

·5-min read
Six-year-old boy suffers third-degree burns in bullying attack: ‘Mommy they lit me on fire’

It was a sunny, spring day when Dominick Krankall decided to heed the call from the boy who lived below him and join him and some neighbourhood kids to play outdoors last Sunday.

The warm embrace that the six-year-old likely felt when being called upon to join the other children, at least one older, the eight-year-old child who beckoned his neighbour to come out, was short lived, his sister Kayla Deegan told WNBC in New York City.

“As soon as he walked down the stairs, the bully called his name and lured him over around the corner, and in a matter of seconds he came back around the corner screaming, saying ‘Mommy they lit me on fire,’” she said, describing the disturbing incident this week that sent her younger brother to hospital with second and third-degree burns covering his face and legs.

The Connecticut State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit is investigating the incident alongside the Bridgeport Fire Marshal’s Office, a state police spokesperson told WNBC.

The incident, Dominick’s sister said, began after the eight-year-old, who she labelled as the main instigator and bully of Dominick, gained access to a nearby shed in the backyard of the Louisiana Avenue home.

Dominick Krankall is seen in hospital recovering from a dangerous burn incident that left his small limbs and face swollen from injuries (Go Fund Me)
Dominick Krankall is seen in hospital recovering from a dangerous burn incident that left his small limbs and face swollen from injuries (Go Fund Me)

There, up to four children uncovered lighters and some gasoline, the Bridgeport authorities reported in the initial police report. The next step, Ms Deegan recounted with a horrified expression, was to lure her younger brother into the yard.

“What he did was pour gasoline on a tennis ball, took a lighter, lit it up and just chucked it right at my brother’s face,” Ms Deegan said.

Then, she added, they just ran away, leaving the burning boy to return home with injuries that could have very easily led to a more disturbing prognosis.

“MY SIX YEAR OLD BROTHER could’ve died,” Ms Deegan wrote on her brother’s Go Fund Me page, which as of Wednesday had raised more than $70,000, well above the outset goal of $50,000.

“He’s going to be scarred for life mentally and physically,” she added.

Dominick Krankall’s sister said he enjoys playing outdoors, riding bicycles and going fishing. “Now he has to lay in bed for MONTHS until he’s even able to walk outside again. It breaks my heart over and over again,” she wrote (Go Fund Me)
Dominick Krankall’s sister said he enjoys playing outdoors, riding bicycles and going fishing. “Now he has to lay in bed for MONTHS until he’s even able to walk outside again. It breaks my heart over and over again,” she wrote (Go Fund Me)

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards helping the family pay medical bills for treating Dominick, whose small frame remains bandaged and swollen from the incident on Sunday.

In an update posted to the page on Wednesday, Dominick’s sister rallied what little joy she could given the circumstances to relay how proud she and her family were to report that Tuesday was the first time the boy was able to get some pieces of food past his still swollen lips.

“He will sip soup out of a straw as well. He’s such a tough little cookie,” she wrote. Dominick, she said, was a keen athlete who enjoyed spending his time outdoors, be it riding his bike or playing basketball with some friends. Now, she notes, he’ll be lucky if he gets to enjoy even some of those activities before the fall.

“He has to lay in bed for MONTHS until he’s even able to walk outside again. It breaks my heart over and over again.”

Dominick, who was rushed to the Bridgeport Hospital at 4pm on Sunday, remains in the burn unit, but doctors treating him told WNBC they expect him to recover – though that he was lucky to survive the attack.

According to the National Institutes of Health, burns that exceed 30 per cent of a person’s body surface can be potentially fatal, though with advancements in treatment people with burns covering 90 per cent of their body can survive, according to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. They are, however, often left with permanent impairment and scarring.

While the family is taking time to celebrate Dominick’s small wins in his path to recovery, like stomaching a strawful of soup, they too have said they’ve been left scarred by the whole experience and are adamant in a pursuit of justice for him.

Family members accused the downstairs neighbour’s son of bullying six-year-old Dominick Krankall for the better part of a year (Go Fund Me)
Family members accused the downstairs neighbour’s son of bullying six-year-old Dominick Krankall for the better part of a year (Go Fund Me)

Maria Rua, the boy’s mother, told WTNH in an interview that she believes the boy who initially beckoned her son outside, the eight-year-old living below them, has been targeting her son for a year and that the alleged bully “purposefully threw a gasoline-saturated ball that they lit on fire at my son’s face”.

“They called his name so he would turn around. They threw it at Dominick and left him outside alone to die,” Ms Rua said. “He’s swollen with blisters. You can’t even see his beautiful eyes anymore.”

His sister is similarly aligned in being set on a path to find justice for her little brother, telling WNBC that she was “sickened” that they not only know the family who they believe is responsible for putting her brother put up in hospital, but that it seems that “nothing is being done”.

“This needs to be seen everywhere so everyone knows Dom’s story and what he had to go through, and the extent it went to for someone to hopefully do something,” she said.

The mother of the eight-year-old who allegedly threw the gasoline-soaked tennis ball at his neighbour reportedly denies any wrongdoing by her son, WNBC reported.

Charges have not been laid against anyone involved in the Sunday incident as of Wednesday, and the eight-year-old boy and his family have not been identified by authorities.

Despite the terrible circumstances, the boy’s parents managed to find a sliver of hope while holding back tears during an interview with local news outlet, News 12, in Connecticut.

“He is a trooper," said the boy’s father, Aaron Krankall, while his mother added: “Thank God he doesn’t need surgery.”

The Independent reached out to the Connecticut State Police for comment on the investigation.

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